Chronic procastinators, who make up 20 per cent of the population, are more impulsive and erratic than other people and less conscientious about attention to detail and obligations to others, he says in his forthcoming book, The Procrastination Equation: Today's Trouble with Tomorrow.
The psychologist, from the University of Calgary, has subsequently formed an equation for why people procrastinate, which began by studying 250 college students.
The equation is U=EV/ID.
The 'U' stands for utility, or the desire to complete a given task. It is equal to the product of E, the expectation of success, and V the value of completion, divided by the product of I, the immediacy of the task, and D, the personal sensitivity to delay.
Prof Steel says procrastination is becoming a bigger issue because many more jobs are "self-structured", with people setting their own schedules.
-Academics invent a mathematical equation for why people procrastinate